2003 Honda Civic Hybrid -- Introduction

2/6/2002 2:41:50 PM

Overview
The 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid ushers in a new era of high efficiency transportation by incorporating the second generation of Honda's Integrated Motor Assist technology into the Civic sedan, the perennial best-selling compact car in America. Originally debuting on the Honda Insight in 1999, Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) uses a gasoline engine coupled to an electric motor (creating a hybrid system) that boosts performance and fuel mileage. Since its inception, the goal of Honda's has been to apply IMA technology to a mass-produced vehicle on an existing platform. After years of development and a proven real world track record with the Insight, the future of high efficiency automotive technology arrives with the introduction of the 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid.

The newly developed Civic Hybrid IMA system offers technology that improves performance and provides greater packaging freedom compared to the Insight's IMA system. The heart of the Civic Hybrid's system is a new 1.3-liter i-DSI 4-cylinder engine that is coupled to a high-output electric motor located between the engine and the transmission. While braking or decelerating, energy is re-captured by the electric motor and stored in the battery for later use. As the vehicle accelerates, stored energy is directed to the high-torque electric motor to supplement the engine's performance. All of this takes place automatically without any additional driver input. The end result is a roomy and comfortable 5-passenger sedan capable of achieving about 50-mpg (a 40 percent increase compared to a conventional Civic LX sedan). Just turn the key and go; like you would in any conventional car, and since the Civic Hybrid's electrical system is completely self-sustaining, it never needs to be plugged in for recharging like an electric vehicle. The Civic Hybrid retains all of the Civic family's class leading safety, performance, refined handling characteristics, reliability and legendary build quality.

Concepts and Goals
The development concept for the Civic Hybrid was to adapt Integrated Motor Assist technology to a high-volume, mainstream vehicle.

Top Goals

  • Achieve the highest levels of fuel economy for a 5-passenger sedan.
  • Provide a refined driving experience with good performance.
  • Be as easy-to-use as any conventional automobile.

Second Generation IMA System and New 1.3-liter i-DSI Lean Burn Engine Features
While the outward appearance of the 2003 Civic Hybrid remains similar to the conventional Civic sedan, the mechanical side of the vehicle is significantly different. The Civic Hybrid melds the technological concept of the Honda Insight into the current production model of the Civic sedan to create an exciting new vehicle.

Civic Hybrid Technology Overview

  • Second generation Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system
  • Newly developed 1.3-liter i-DSI 4-cylinder gasoline engine
  • New "intelligent" i-DSI (Dual & Sequential Ignition) lean burn combustion technology with two spark plugs per cylinder
  • VTEC controlled Cylinder Idling System
  • Improved ultra-thin DC brushless motor
  • New Intelligent Power Unit (IPU)
  • Creeping Aid System (on CVT models)

Additional Product Information
Availability - The Civic Hybrid will go on sale in April 2002 as a 2003 model with an anticipated sales volume of 2,000 per month. A Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV) version of the Civic Hybrid will go on sale in California in January 2003.

History - The Hybrid is the second Honda vehicle to use Honda's patented Integrated Motor Assist technology. The first was the 2000 Honda Insight, which went on sale in the U.S. in December 1999.

Diverse Civic Lineup - Ten Civic models and trim levels will soon be available in sedan, coupe and hatchback styles. The models are: Civic Si hatchback, Civic sedan (DX, LX, EX, GX, Hybrid), Civic coupe (DX, LX, EX, HX). The Civic GX is a natural gas-powered Civic (sold primarily to fleets).

Drive and Feel - Overall, the Civic Hybrid provides an exceptionally refined driving experience with an agile and sporty suspension, comfortable ride, good acceleration performance and a quiet interior.

Summary - The Civic Hybrid's IMA system combines the advantages of proven hybrid technology into the best-selling compact car in the U.S. to create the ultimate in efficiency, comfort, style and refinement. The Honda Civic Hybrid will be the first established, mainstream vehicle equipped with a gasoline-electric hybrid system to hit the market.